Continuing our slog through the pre-season Top 20 prospect lists as the season approaches its close, we turn our attention to the Houston Astros.
Remember, this is the PRE-SEASON list. This is not a new list.
These are pre-season grades.
Discuss current events in the comments section.
1) Alex Bregman, SS, Grade A-: Outstanding in the minors, combined .306/.406/.580 in Double-A and Triple-A with 20 homers; hitting .238/.291/.396 in the majors; that will improve, expect a large breakout next season.
2) A.J. Reed, 1B, Grade A-: .291/.368/.556 in Triple-A, .180/.288/.315 in the majors; as with Bregman, I have full confidence that Reed will make necessary adjustments and develop into an offensive force.
3) Francis Martes, RHP, Grade B+: Impressive season in Double-A, 3.52 ERA with 122/43 K/BB in 115 innings, 96 hits; at age 20; on track for a major league trial next year, stock holding or rising.
4) Kyle Tucker, OF, Grade B+/B: Hit .276/.348/.402 with 31 steals, 40 walks, 75 strikeouts in 373 at-bats in Low-A; just promoted to High-A; only 19 years old; 2015 first-rounder has shown less power than anticipated but more speed, combined with excellent strike zone knowledge; expect breakout in 2017.
5) Joe Musgrove, RHP, Grade B+/B: 85 innings between Double-A and Triple-A, 2.74 ERA, 87/10 K/BB; promoted to majors and has been very good so far, 4.18 ERA but an excellent 23/3 K/BB in 24 innings; not a fluke in any way and should continue to improve.
6) Michael Feliz, RHP, Grade B+/B: 53 innings in major league pen, 4.22 ERA but 78/17 K/BB and just 44 hits allowed; as with Musgrove Feliz should continue to improve.
7) Daz Cameron, OF, Grade B: Played 40 games between Low-A and New York-Penn League before going down with broken finger, hitting .212/.287/.321 with 12 steals, 14 walks, 59 strikeouts in 156 at-bats; disappointing obviously but too soon to draw any valid conclusions given age (19) and pedigree.
8) Colin Moran, 3B, Grade B: Hitting .263/.332/.380 with nine homers, 41 walks, 106 strikeouts in 392 at-bats in Triple-A, went 2-for-19 in brief MLB trial; at this point he looks blocked in this system given other players and his own mediocre performance in the hitting-friendly PCL.
9) Derek Fisher, OF, Grade B: 414 at-bats between Double-A and Triple-A, hitting combined .239/.363/.428 with 19 homers, 24 steals, 78 walks, 141 strikeouts; have to like the power/speed/walks combination but contact/batting average look like significant issues that could hold him back.
10) David Paulino, RHP, Grade B-: 80 innings between Double-A, Triple-A, and rookie ball injury rehab; 2.03 ERA with 93/15 K/BB, 63 hits; outstanding performance in every respect, just needs to show he can handle a workload.
11) J.D. Davis, 3B, Grade B-: 432 at-bats in Double-A with .257/.320/.451 slash line, 18 homers, 37 walks, 128 strikeouts; solid glove with power but another guy who looks blocked here and needs to sharpen up his strike zone command.
12) Franklin Perez, RHP, Grade B-: Age 18, signed out of Venezuela for $1,000,000 in 2014, 2.83 ERA with 72/16 K/BB in 64 innings in Low-A; reports from Midwest League are glowing, throws hard, throws strikes, secondary pitches developing nicely, stock up; elite prospect.
13) Tony Kemp, 2B-OF, Grade B-/C+: Hit .306/.389/.396 in Triple-A, .243/.321/.311 in the majors; lacks power but a nice approach at the plate, another guy who should improve though without the upside of Bregman or Reed.
14) Tyler White, 3B-1B, Grade B-/C+: Older bad-body prospect hit .209/.281/.360 in 211 major league at-bats before going down to Triple-A; was given a fair chance; blocked now; will continue to crush minor league pitching and more opportunities may come, probably elsewhere.
15) Albert Abreu, RHP, Grade C+: 3.50 ERA in Low-A with 104/49 K/BB in 90 innings, just 62 hits; fastball up to 96 with good changeup; breaking stuff has progressed, still needs better control. Kick him up to a B-.
16) Matt Duffy, 3B-1B, Grade C+: Age 27, older prospect like Tyler White, not having a good year in Triple-A with .223/.296/.357 slash line, nine homers; claimed on waivers by the Texas Rangers last month; past track record including 2015 in Triple-A was much better so rebound is possible..
17) Jandel Gustave, RHP, Grade C+: Hard-throwing reliever, 53 innings in Triple-A with 3.74 ERA, 53/20 K/BB, 45 hits, still has spotty command but very good stuff.
18) Akeem Bostick, RHP, Grade C+: Very projectable, 58 innings in Cal League with 43/38 K/BB, 65 hits, 4.99 ERA; capable of better with fastball up to 96 but secondary pitches, command, mechanics all remain raw. High upside.
19) Teoscar Hernandez, OF, Grade C+: Breakout season from toolsy outfielder, hit combined .307/.377/.459 between Double-A and Triple-A with 10 homers, 34 steals; always had the tools but has improved with better grasp of strike zone; 7-for-25 with two homers since moving up to majors; stock rising.
20) Gilberto Celestino, OF, Grade C+: Age 17, signed for $2,500,000 out of Dominican Republic in 2015; hit .279/.388/.434 in 38 games in Dominican Summer League; promoted to GCL but struggling so far at .143/.250/.257 in 12 games; good power potential, glove; young and a bit raw.
OTHER GRADE C+: Riley Ferrell, RHP; Jon Kemmer, OF
OTHERS OF NOTE: Andrew Aplin, OF: Jonathan Arauz, INF; Chris Devenski, RHP; Nolan Fontana, INF; Alfredo Gonzalez, C; Mike Hauschild, RHP; Elieser Hernandez, RHP; James Hoyt, RHP; Juan Minaya, RHP; Brendan McCurry, RHP; Chase McDonald, 1B; Jamie Ritchie, C; Thomas Shirley, LHP; Miguelangel Sierra, SS; Kyle Smith, RHP; Cy Sneed, RHP; Max Stassi, C
Discuss current system happenings in the comments section.